June is a busy show month for the beauty industry. This includes Empire’s own Future Professionals Expo. As I walked the floor at a big trade show recently I reflected on how one can maximize their show experience. Below are my top five tips for extracting all you can from the limited time of a trade show.
Plan your time – Show days are long, but they fly by. Map out your day in advance. If you can get the class schedule ahead of time go through it with a highlighter and a sharpie. Plan you day around the classes you wish to attend and fill the gaps in between with time on the show floor. If you cannot get the book in advance, be to the show early. Grab a program and lay out your day before the show opens. Plan you day and get the most from the experience.
Set a budget for show purchases – Have a list of things you need and want. Do research ahead of time so you have a good idea of retail prices and can spot TRUE show deals. Resist impulse purchases. Many show vendors offer true show only deals. Others will honor show pricing a few weeks after an event. Shop wisely.
Go solo – Stylists like to travel in packs. Attend the show with friends to share gas, hotel and other costs, but hit the floor solo. Go to classes with friends if you all agree on priorities, but be open to splitting off on your own for programming that is truly important to you. Eliminating the distraction of friends will help you learn more and experience everything.
Stay for the entire class – Resist the urge to get up and move on. Every presentation has value. The value might not be apparent in the first fifteen minutes. Great presenters offer an opening a body and a close to their sharing. Stay the course and see/hear their vision through. That being said, truly horrible presentations are painful. Cut bait and find the next classroom before it is too late.
Take pictures – Your memory is not as good as your camera. This is a visual industry. Take a lot of pictures. Use the images you capture for social media posts, style books and your own learning diary. Share images with co-workers and fellow students. Discuss what you have seen and how it relates to your beauty realities.
Hit the show with a plan and you are sure to make them most of it. You will be eager to go to another show next year. Shows will become an important part of your ongoing industry education.